The Grizzlies looked like a darned good team this night.
Took some poise to withstand the horrible flagrant call after the Milwaukee run at the end of the third, including the shot of the night, the 3 by Quincy Pondexter when the Bucks had closed it to 75-68.
Box scores are chock full o’ stats, but most of the time they don’t tell a story. This game, however, was different.
-Shooting percentage. 53 for the Griz, 38 for the Bucks. It’s a simple game really. The Bucks did get more shot attempts (mostly, it would seem, due to the Grizzlies’ inability to hold onto the ball in the first and third quarters), but could not convert. A dismal 11-38 combined from Jennings and Ellis. Ouchie for Scott Skiles and crew. Ellis, as he is wont to do, hit a hot spot…and, as he is wont to do, after the heat had been shut off, he kept lettin’ it fly. As for long-range shooting, the Grizzlies starters took the unwelcome bagel…but the bench went a fiery 6-9. Just indescribably nice to have the previously-much-maligned Griz bench score 18 from long range and 40 total. Mo Speights led the reserves’ offensive charge in a great turnaround from the Jazz game with a stellar 9-13 (sure, a couple of them were in garbage time, but after that Jazz outing, Speights needed a feel-good game).
-Rebounding. Griz 49, Bucks 41. Again, a simple game. When someone misses, you go get the stinkin’ ball. Z-Bo with another rebounding game in the teens, and the Griz’ starters outrebounded the Bucks’ first five 34-20. Dalembert and Ilyasova have their strong suits, no doubt-but against the Grizzlies’ entirely grit-based front line, they didn’t really stand a chance.
-Assists to fg’s made. If any of you (and I pity you if you have) read what I’ve written here over the last several years, you’ll know that a high percentage of field goals that are assisted is one of my favorite ways to see how an offense is clicking, especially for an uh, ahem, sometimes assist-challenged team like the Griz. 28 assists on 44 made, I’ll take it every night. 64% assisted. Nicely done, and especially nice was the great game from Conley, who had 13 points and twelve big assists with only 2 turnovers, and this against Brandon Jennings, who had been clocking 13 dimes a game of late.
If there was a dark spot, it was turnovers. The Grizzlies had 14 to only 10 for Milwaukee, with a cluster coming in the first quarter and a cluster in the third when the Bucks closed it from 22 to 7.
The Grizzlies have had a good stretch, and now have a 3-game winning streak. The Houston Rockets come to town on Friday, and even though Lowry doesn’t play for them anymore, it’s still just a bit of a grudge match whenever they come to town. Can the Grizzlies keep it going?